Review: Hotel Des Indes The Hague

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Oriental Residence Bangkok
Finnair A350 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Airport
Finnair A321 Business Class Helsinki to Amsterdam
Hotel Des Indes The Hague
Hotel Le Royal Luxembourg
Sofitel Brussels Le Louise
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
British Airways Lounge Amsterdam
British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London
My Bloomsbury London
Finnair A350 Business Class London to Helsinki
Finnair A350 Business Class Helsinki to Hong Kong


We arrived at the Hotel Des Indes after driving straight from Amsterdam Airport. We were greeted by the bellmen who directed us to the check-in area and offered to park our car.

IMG_0164Hotel Des Indes The Hague Entrance 

Continue reading Review: Hotel Des Indes The Hague”

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe

Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe
Cathay Pacific 777 Business Class Hong Kong to Bangkok
Oriental Residence Bangkok
Finnair A350 Business Class Bangkok to Helsinki
Hilton Helsinki Airport
Finnair A321 Business Class Helsinki to Amsterdam
Hotel Des Indes The Hague
Hotel Le Royal Luxembourg
Sofitel Brussels Le Louise
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
British Airways Lounge Amsterdam
British Airways A321 Economy Class Amsterdam to London
My Bloomsbury London
Finnair A350 Business Class London to Helsinki
Finnair A350 Business Class Helsinki to Hong Kong


Welcome to my next trip report, and I apologise that it’s taken so long. While some of the installments had been written shortly after I took the trip in July 2017, life happened, so I finished most of the other installments of the report over the past few days.

Last year, our family decided on going to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg during the summer. My mother and I also took a week-long detour to spend some time with family in London, as well as to allow me to attend a summer camp. Meanwhile, my father had to head home straight from Amsterdam due to work.

map

Continue reading Introduction: Flying The Nordic Shortcut to Europe”

Review: The Westin Sydney

Since we’d booked a Cathay Holidays package for our trip, our ticket included a four-night stay at The Westin Sydney. The Westin Sydney was right by Sydney’s central business district, and it looked pretty modern, so all else being equal we decided to go for it for our four-night stay. Our flights to Sydney in Cathay Pacific business class were retailing for HK$24,300 per person, so the overall cost breakdown from the package brought the hotel price to around ~HK$2,500 per night. The hotel was retailing our room type for ~HK$2,700 per night, though I’m not sure if Starwood was doing their fourth-night free promotion at the time – if they were, that would’ve saved us quite a bit of money, though the promotion never crossed my mind at the time of booking.

The Westin Sydney is a category 5 hotel, so an SPG redemption would cost 12,000 points. In this case we weren’t staying in an entry level room (though the biggest difference was probably the floor we were staying on). An entry level room cost ~HK$2,100 for our dates, so paying cash would’ve been a marginally better deal.

The Westin Sydney is integrated into the No. 1 Martin Place complex, so the general impression of the hotel’s exterior is the classic, dainty building that No. 1 Martin Place is. That’s where most of the public areas of the hotel are housed, though the real hotel is in a more corporate-looking, though still nice building located behind the complex.

The hotel is located right at the intersection of Pitt Street and Martin Place – two huge streets if you’re looking to shop or eat. There’s also a side entrance by George Street, another huge shopping street. It’s a couple of minutes from the Martin Place subway station, and a 10-minute walk from Circular Quay, so location-wise this hotel gets full marks.

The Westin Sydney Exterior

Continue reading Review: The Westin Sydney”

Is This The Best Gym I’ve Been To At A Hotel?

Greetings from Sydney! I’m midway through a stay at a chain hotel in Sydney, and it’s quite nice, despite being ever so slightly on the dated side. I’m also a fan of Sydney as a whole – it’s becoming a city I really like and can connect with, despite being rather exhausting (the pace here’s a little too quick even for me!).

I’m a frequent user of hotel gyms, though this was a first for me. I’m not sure if I like this or not, so I thought I’d share my thoughts real quick.

Continue reading “Is This The Best Gym I’ve Been To At A Hotel?”

Review: Westin Singapore

As Singapore is a rather dated and expensive hotel market, as a family of four we were surprised to be finding the cheapest hotel fares from the Shangri-La Singapore and the Westin Singapore. The Shangri-La does seem a little dated through pictures, so we went with the latter. With prices directly quoted through email from The Westin Singapore, we were able to secure two rooms – my dad wanted an Executive Suite so there would be more space, and we were able to find that at an adequate rate at the Westin, for SGD 579 (~HK$3220) per night. The maximum occupancy for the suite was three people, so we snagged an extra Premier room for SGD 306 (~HK$1700) per night, which was a fair price, in my parents’ opinion (the entry level twin bed Deluxe rooms were out, so I would have be stuck sleeping with my father, which I’ll pay with my own allowance to avoid – he’s loud). After all, as a family of four you probably wouldn’t be able to get anything much cheaper in such an expensive hotel market, so to be able to have that extra living room, we were pretty happy. Or so we thought.

I was in charge of booking a hotel at The Westin, as through my YTHK email account, I seemed to be treated slightly better than my parents were through email (maybe I just lucked out with a series of better agents – I don’t know). Go figure that the 42-day advance purchase rate limit came as I was wrapping up a trip to Jakarta, so we were left with the SPG exclusive prepaid rate as I got back, where the suite set us back SGD 717 (~HK$3990) per night and the premier room set us back SGD 341 (~HK$1900) per night.  At this point all the other options had also gone up in price, so as cranky as we were by that point, our family made a collective decision to spring for the Westin anyway.

Keep in mind that the Westin Singapore is an SPG Category 6 hotel, so a deluxe room would’ve set us back 20,000 Starpoints. The Deluxe Rooms were on sale for SGD 272 (~HK$1520) for our dates (they were out by the time the 42-day prepaid rate expired, so I can’t speak for that), so I’m confident cash would have been the better deal.

We flew in on Singapore Airlines A380 premium economy in the morning, and had arranged transport to get us and our bags to the Westin. We made it to the hotel at around 7:30 PM, where we were greeted by bellmen at the door.

The Westin Singapore Driveway

Continue reading Review: Westin Singapore”

Review: W Taipei

Introduction
The Qantas Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Cabin Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge Hong Kong
W Taipei
Plaza Premium Airport Experience Zone Taipei Taoyuan
Cathay Pacific 405 A330-300 Business Class Taipei to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Arrival Lounge Hong Kong


While the Mandarin Oriental was a great choice in Taipei last time and came at a similar price point, I wanted to try something different this time round. One hotel I’d been dying to review was the W Taipei – while I’d stayed here before, it was before I started the blog, and I remember the experience being really “fun” in a nice way.

I was curious to know if the hotel would be as good under working standards, now that I’m spending 75% of my time in Taipei in a hotel room working. I know that universally W hotels aren’t amazing when it comes to design, so I was excited to give the W Taipei a revisit to see if my opinions changed at all after a second stay.

The exterior of the hotel is modern – it looks better at night, while looking rather industrial during the day, but it’s definitely easy to spot.

img_2497 W Taipei Exterior

Continue reading Review: W Taipei”

Introduction: Night of the Lounges

Introduction
The Qantas Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Cabin Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge Hong Kong
W Taipei
Plaza Premium Airport Experience Zone Taipei Taoyuan
Cathay Pacific 405 A330-300 Business Class Taipei to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Arrival Lounge Hong Kong


After our last trip to Taipei, my fondest memories probably weren’t focused on the actual destination, though my parents’ were. They vowed to revisit Taipei for a slightly longer time, so eventually decided on September. After all, as a travel blogger, they decided I couldn’t just not fly for three months. 😉

14311289_636760543161718_8344395852310307338_oShifen, Taipei, Taiwan

Continue reading Introduction: Night of the Lounges”

Marriott and Starwood Tie the Knot…Any Guest Writers Want To Help Me Cover This?

I’ve been pretty busy working the past few days, but that doesn’t take me way out of the world. I’ve been observing Starwood and Marriott’s merger the past few days, and I’m sure all of you readers have as well.

So I guess it would be nice to nail in the hammer and make sure y’all know that Marriott and Starwood have tied the knot on September 23rd, 2016.

img_2293W Taipei Wonderful Room

Continue reading “Marriott and Starwood Tie the Knot…Any Guest Writers Want To Help Me Cover This?”

Review: Westin Wall Center Vancouver Airport

Introduction
SkyTeam Lounge Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport Midfield Terminal
Korean Air 604 777-200 Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 71 777-200 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Vancouver: Part 1
Korean Air 71 777-200 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Vancouver: Part 2
Our Whistler Apartment: Pinnacle Ridge
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort: My Thoughts
Westin Wall Center Vancouver Airport
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver
Korean Air 72 777-200 Business Class Vancouver to Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 607 747-400 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific 723 A330-300 Economy Class Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur
The Boulevard by St. Giles Kuala Lumpur
Cathay Pacific 720 A330-300 Economy Class Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong


As our flight back to Seoul was at 1 PM, I wanted to make sure the night before was as smooth as possible (i.e. we weren’t driving back to Vancouver at 5 AM on Sunday morning), so we got a room at the Westin Wall Center Vancouver for ~HK$1,200 a night. This came with free WiFi (no, actually, my dad went through Booking.com for no free WiFi and $500 more, but I’m not here to b@tch),

We arrived the Westin Wall Center at around 7 PM, where we bid the Whistler Wired driver farewell.

IMG_7592

Westin Wall Center Vancouver Airport Exterior

Continue reading Review: Westin Wall Center Vancouver Airport”

Introduction: To Grub Steaks and Getting CX’d – A February of Flying (Twice)

Introduction
SkyTeam Lounge Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport Midfield Terminal
Korean Air 604 777-200 Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 71 777-200 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Vancouver: Part 1
Korean Air 71 777-200 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Vancouver: Part 2
Our Whistler Apartment: Pinnacle Ridge
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort: My Thoughts
Westin Wall Center Vancouver Airport
Plaza Premium Lounge Vancouver
Korean Air 72 777-200 Business Class Vancouver to Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 607 747-400 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific 723 A330-300 Economy Class Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur
The Boulevard by St. Giles Kuala Lumpur
Cathay Pacific 720 A330-300 Economy Class Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong


I’ve been a longtime keen skier, hiking off to Niseko, Japan for a four-day ski every Chinese New Year since 2008. Unfortunately, that ended with the 2011 Japan earthquake/disaster, with my mother shuddering at any remnant of radiation that existed in any of these places.

To reminisce that, a couple of friends invited us to Whistler, Canada for some more skiing (which is kind of a stupid move, given studies show that there’s more radiation in Canada than Japan nowadays). Being a longhaul flight fan, I obliged.

IMG_7397

Whistler, Canada

Continue reading Introduction: To Grub Steaks and Getting CX’d – A February of Flying (Twice)”